When Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus discovered the manufacturing secret of European porcelain in 1707, kaolin became a sought-after raw material. In the Kemmlitzer area, kaolin has been mined since the 18th century, earlier mainly in civil engineering and now exclusively in open-cast mining. The Kemmlitzer Revier in the National Geopark Porphyrland is a nationally important mining area of the kaolin known as "white earth". At the Schleben / Crellenhain deposit, exploratory wells were drilled in the western field as early as 1924. In 1927, Steingut-AG Colditz sank a shaft in Schleben, and the raw kaolin was transported by horse and cart to the Nebitzschen train station and loaded there for shipment to Colditz. In 1941 the mining shaft collapsed and production was stopped.Since 1985 the deposit has been re-explored as a successor to the Gröppendorf opencast mine. Kaolin thicknesses of more than 30 m were found in the deposit area. Mining began in 2004 in a horseshoe shape around the “Kreuzgrund” nature reserve. The raw kaolin is mined with bucket wheel excavators, transported over a 3 km long conveyor belt to the Gröppendorf slurry mill and processed there.
Photo: R. Heinze
October 21, 2020
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